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GHOST TOWN by Richard W. Jennings


by Richard W. Jennings

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: June 29th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-547-19471-4
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Offbeat, quirky, peculiar, unusual—take your pick of adjectives; any (or all) could be used to describe the latest effort of a Midwestern writer known for original characters and unpredictable plots. The question is, how odd is too odd? Certainly the story of Spencer Honesty, last child living in Paisley, Kan., takes some downright bizarre turns. From his long-dead father’s old camera, which takes photos of people who aren’t there, to Spencer’s imaginary friend, Chief Leopard Frog, woodcarver and aspiring poet, to the lucrative relationship Spencer develops with an entrepreneurial ex-pat based in the Cayman Islands, readers won’t know quite what to expect next. Not that there’s not a loopy kind of logic at work, but sometimes it can be hard to spot. Likewise, Spencer’s low-key, first-person narration adds a fillip of humor to the outlandish tale, but some readers may find his deadpan delivery more annoying than amusing. For readers who enjoy Jennings’s work, Spencer’s adventures will be a welcome addition. Those unfamiliar with the author’s style, however, may find themselves working a bit to acquire a taste for it. (Fiction. 10-14)